5 items from 2015
Words With Friends: Gozlan’s Stylish Noir all Amalgamated Pulp
Enjoyably anxious, director Yann Gozlan’s sophomore feature A Perfect Man (Un homme idéal) would better recall suspense masters like Hitchcock or Chabrol if its narrative felt a little less familiar. As such, it seems more like the B noir cousin of the cinema Gozlan is in conversation with rather than a revisionist take on one of cinema’s greatest femme fatales—karma. Featuring an excellent lead performance from recent Cesar award winning actor Pierre Niney, there’s much to admire even as Gozlan overdoses with increasing complications that hinge on the ludicrous.
Mathieu Vasseur (Niney) is an aspiring novelist, whose first manuscript, The Man From Behind, has been promptly rejected by publishers. Working vaguely as some sort of janitorial staff and/or garbage man, Vasseur stumbles into a lecture being given about scent’s relationship to memory and literature »
- Nicholas Bell
Hollywood is not exactly a warm and fuzzy place where everyone gets along like best friends. That’s why so many film sets are hotbeds for drama. But no drama is more intense than the art-infused feuds between actor and director, because Art!
Here are some of the biggest and best actor-director fights in film history.
Let’s start with the most recent. After Mo’Nique won an Oscar for her role in Precious, she says Daniels told her she was blackballed for not playing the Hollywood game. Then recently she announced that she’d been offered roles in both The Butler and Empire, but never heard anything more until she learned Oprah and Taraji P. Henson were respectively playing what she’d been led to believe were her roles. Despite the struggles, Mo’Nique says she “could work with Lee Daniels tomorrow.”
- Courtney Enlow
Actors and directors have always clashed – it’s part of the process of filmmaking to butt heads over creative decisions, with director and star often having their own individual interpretations for how a movie should play out. Star and director artistically duking it out is normal on a film set, but only rarely does the process actually lead to full-blown arguments, much less physical fights.
There have, of course, been instances where actor/director partnerships have proven volatile. Faye Dunaway famously threw a cup of urine in Roman Polanski’s face in reaction to his harsh treatment of her on Chinatown, while Robert Downey Jr. has said David Fincher’s relentless tactics for drawing the performances he wanted from actors on Zodiac had him consider “garroting” the director.
With others, it should’ve been predictable from the off that things wouldn’t necessarily go smoothly – though Werner Herzog »
- Brogan Morris
The world is full of men content to spend their lives within a few miles of where they were born, men who will love one woman, learn one language and go to their graves hardly having dreamed at all. These are not the men about whom Werner Herzog makes movies, although it took until age 72 for the chronicler of such bombastic souls as “Aguirre” and “Fitzcarraldo” to deem a woman worthy of one of his mighty portraits. Better late than never, and though Nicole Kidman is hardly the female Klaus Kinski, in the formidable character epic “Queen of the Desert,” she conveys with quiet determination what Kinski never could: the kind of conviction that changes the world.
Leaning more on romance than one might suppose to capture such an independent spirit as Gertrude Lowthian Bell, whose self-directed explorations among and dealings with the Middle East’s many conflicting tribes informed »
- Peter Debruge
2015 marks the ending of a fifteen year hiatus from filmmaking for Polish auteur Andrzej Zulawski, whose last film was 2000’s La Fidelite, which starred the director’s then wife French actress Sophie Marceau. Known for capturing some of the most memorably gonzo performances ever committed to film, Zulawski’s most celebrated title is 1981’s Possession, which starred Isabelle Adjani (who nabbed Best Actress at Cannes for her unforgettable performance) and Sam Neill. Infamous for its inclusion on the dreaded “Video Nasties” list of the 1980s, the title slowly nurtured a cult audience and is still, by far, the most easily accessible title of Zulawski’s impressive filmography. Plagued by Polish censors, the critical success following his first two features, 1971′s The Third Part of the Night and 1972’s The Devil saw Zulawaski migrate to France for the magnificent The Most Important Thing is »
- Nicholas Bell
5 items from 2015
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